If you’ve lived in Asheville any length of time, you’ve probably heard a variation of the “amusement park rumor.” Off and on for years, there’s been speculation that Six Flags was planning to build a theme park in town. Others have posited that the Biltmore Estate would build some attraction. Gossips have even suggested that Asheville itself is morphing into a carnival of condos, hot-dog carts and castaways, but that’s a different story.
Mountain Xpress heard the latest incarnation this week — that Busch Gardens had joined the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, an indication that it plans a park here.
Not quite, according to James Carter, director of membership sales for the chamber.
“They have approached us several times over the past few years about putting their brochures in our visitors center, and we told them they had to be a chamber member in order for us to hand out their brochures,” Carter said. Busch Gardens sees Asheville as a destination and it wants to market itself here, Carter said. So the company, owned and operated by Busch Entertainment Corporation, a division of Anheuser-Busch, joined the Asheville chamber in January, Carter said. The cost is $335 for a base membership.
The chamber carries brochures from regional attractions such as Ghost Town in the Sky, Tweetsie Railroad and Santa’s Land, but Busch Gardens probably ranks as the biggest, Carter said.
So, that’s today’s rumor control. Have you heard a juicy tidbit that’s too good not to pass along? Share it with Xpress and we’ll check it out for you.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor